THOUSANDS of nervous students were today logging on and opening the big brown envelopes to discover their destiny.

Teenagers across Hampshire were heading to their schools and colleges to find out their A-level results.

It will be a day of celebration or commiseration, as well as looking to the future as many discover whether they have achieved a place at university, while others will now decide to head elsewhere to continue their education or enter the wide world of work.

A-level results in Hampshire appear to be similar to last year’s, with most schools or colleges reporting they had consolidated the excellent grades achieved in 2011.

If students have out-performed their predecessors, it will be the 30th consecutive year in which national pass rates have risen.

But with rising tuition fees being blamed for a drop in applications, the traditional scramble for places could be a little easier than in recent years, with many universities appearing to be offering far more places through clearing.

Southampton Solent University , which will this year charge fees of £7,800, is expected to have about 500 places available through clearing, while the University of Southampton , where fees will be the full £9,000, has spaces on several courses.

The University of Winchester , where average fees are £8,500, is also accepting clearing applications for a handful of subjects.

Richard Kennett, Southampton University’s director of UK student recruitment, outreach and admissions, said: “Having looked at some university clearing listings there appear to be quite a lot of courses in clearing this year. There’s more complexity in the system this year. We’ve got a situation where there’s a decline in the demographic, with fewer 18-year-olds than last year, and we’ve got the fee situation which has some impact.”

Mr Kennett said students unclear on what to do next should speak to universities to get full details before making the important decision of where they are going to spend the next three years.

He said: “If it’s unclear what the decision by the university is then give them a call and see if there’s any flexibility.

“Be open-minded. If you can’t do a course on its own, are you willing to do it in combination with another that might be of interest? Think about issues like accommodation and the logistics of it all, like what financial support the university can offer.

Solent University’s head of recruitment, Dr Steve Lake added: “Some students may be put off from going to university for financial reasons, but I would urge them to think again. Many don’t realise there are no up-front fees to be paid.”

  • Southampton Solent University clearing hotline: 023 8001 1722
  • University of Southampton clearing hotline: 023 8059 8989
  • University of Winchester course enquiries: 01962 827234
  • UCAS exam results hotline: 0808 100 8000
  • Southampton City College: 023 8048 4848